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hamishbarker's picture
A combined spring and shock

A combined spring and shock absorber always absorbs energy whenever it moves. Although the spring returns all energy which it sites during compression, the shock absorber does not. If it didn't work that way, going over a bump would result in you continuing to bounce afterwards. The point of the absorber is to absorb unwanted energy (the vertical movement). That energy is supplied by the slowing up a you hit the bump and only the spring part is pearly returned (minus pivot frictionand the energy dissipation of the shock absorber) If the payload is cranked up high enough that the small irregularities of the road don't lead to any movement of the spring (instead the whole bike and payload moves up and over the bump.), the energy loss will be less, but so will the comfort (and perhaps wheel life if the bumps are hard andfrequent enough!)